With the goal of building understanding between the United States and Arab speakers, Americans are invited to nominate novels, short stories or poetry that reflect American dreams, opportunities and challenges or otherwise embody the ‘American spirit’.
The initiative coincides with Kalima’s participation in the National Book Festival, an annual event on the National Mall, sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by First Lady Laura Bush. People can submit nominations at www.uae-us.org/kalima. Visitors to the National Book Festival can nominate titles at the Kalima exhibit space in the Let’s Read America I pavilion at the National Mall.
Kalima was founded last year by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage, and is based on a simple premise: Most great works of world literature are currently not available in Arabic, making them inaccessible to most readers in the Arab world. Among last year’s translation selections were American authors William Faulkner, Alan Greenspan, Frank Herbert, and Thomas Pynchon.
“Kalima is one of a set of coordinated cultural initiatives launched under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It is part of Abu Dhabi’s vision to become a center of learning, cross-cultural understanding, and the diffusion of knowledge throughout the region. The initiative invokes a comparison to ‘Bait Al Hikma,’ or House of Wisdom- a library and a translation center established in the 9th century; this intellectual center ignited learning and discovery in the Arab world which in turn became an essential factor in the making of the modern world,” said Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Kalima Chief Executive Officer.
Kalima seeks to widen access to global knowledge by funding the translation, publication, and distribution of quality titles from all genres from other languages into Arabic. Kalima also supports marketing and distribution initiatives by opening up new distribution channels and upgrading existing ones. The initiative supports and promotes the Arabic book industry on the international stage and invests in translation as a profession, to encourage more and better quality translators. Kalima will also become the first marketers of Arabic books on a major scale.
A rigorous procedure is in place to ensure that annual selections are high-quality, include a mix of literature, natural and social sciences as well as other genres such as history, arts, and business books. Titles ultimately selected should add intellectual value to the Arab library. Works by US authors that are nominated during this program will be considered for translation in 2009 and beyond.
Kalima’s invitation for US readers to nominate books for translation is one of many ways that the UAE is building bridges between the United States and the Arab world,” said UAE Ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba. “The UAE has become an innovative social investor and an important gateway for the United States and the West.”
Wednesday, September 10- 2008 @ 11:14 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.